When people talk about suing for damages, or filing a lawsuit, they are talking about civil law. The main purpose of civil law is to settle disputes between individuals.
Examples of civil cases include contract disputes, contested wills and estates (which is a disagreement about the terms of a will), and personal injury (such as the result of a car accident).
Cases involving divorce are also civil cases, but are dealt with differently than other types of civil cases. See the section on Family Break Up for helpful resource on family law.
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